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  • The new Critical Incident List manages cases in which a non-parent carer is seeking parenting orders where no parent is available to care for the child due to death, critical injury or incarceration due to family violence.
  • Criteria for admission to the list is narrow.
  • Announcement of the list presents an opportunity for practitioners to refresh themselves on the process by which a non-parent carer can apply for parenting orders and the interaction between the Family Law Act and State and Territory child welfare legislation.

On 1 June 2022, the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (‘the Court’) announced the commencement of a Critical Incident List (‘the List’), which commenced on 6 June 2022.

The List is administered by the Court’s National Assessment Team and will presumably operate across all registries.

Practitioners should familiarise themselves with the Family Law Practice Direction: Critical Incident List which sets out information about the operation of the List.

To be considered for the List, a case must meet the following criteria:

  1. The applicant is a non-parent caring for the child (or children);
  2. There is no parent available to care for the child as a result of death (including homicide), critical injury or incarceration relating to or resulting from a family violence incident;
  3. The applicant is seeking orders for parental responsibility to enable appropriate arrangements to be made for the child (for example, authorities to engage with schools and health care providers, and this may or may not include an order for the child to live with the applicant); and
  4. There are no existing final family law or State/Territory child welfare orders in place which relate to the child’s care arrangements with a non-parent or allocating parental responsibility of the child to a non-parent.

Once a case is admitted into the List, the Court will arrange a first listing before a Judge within seven business days subject to judicial resources.

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